As an employer, executive health screening may seem like a huge cost to bear. Not only does it mean time away from work, but also more expenses incurred.
In the pursuit of making money, the phrase “time is money” may be what’s driving you to ensure productivity. And perhaps organising executive health screenings for your employees may be the last thing on the list.
However, going for health screenings is crucial as they can help detect diseases early and increase the chances of recovery. And of course, having healthy employees onboard is beneficial for your organisation.
What are the benefits of having an executive health screening?
The value of your company — apart from profits — ultimately lies in the productivity and health of your employees. On top of earning profits, employees should be healthy and happy while on the job.
As of today, it’s estimated that a quarter of Singaporeans aged 40 years and above will be diagnosed with one or more types of chronic diseases. Some of these chronic diseases include diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
These chronic diseases can eventually lead to more severe health problems, such as stroke, heart problems, and kidney failure.
And should any of your employees be infected with other illnesses such as COVID-19, underlying conditions such as heart disease and diabetes may also cause complications.
Today, the top killer diseases in Singapore include cancer and cardiovascular diseases, which can be prevented with early detection.
If an employee were to be diagnosed with such diseases at a later stage, this could potentially affect your company’s healthcare costs, productivity rate, and even morale.
Organising executive health screenings will not only serve practical benefits for your employees, but it also demonstrates your responsibility and concern for them.
Who should go for executive health screening?
In short, all employees should go for an executive health screening.
While health screenings may often be associated with individuals who are ill, healthy individuals should also go for them.
Many of these medical conditions may not show symptoms at the early stage. Thus, any seemingly healthy employee should still be encouraged to go for an executive health screening, even if they’ve never shown symptoms of any chronic disease.
How regular should executive health screening be?
A few reasons why people don’t go for health screenings is that they can be time-consuming and expensive.
Despite those reasons, it should be conducted on a regular basis. Going for just one health screening is not a one-off guarantee that you’re cleared of any disease.
On the contrary, it only provides small snapshots of your health condition. A health screening merely reflects the conditions present at the time of the screening.
|Condition||Recommended Age for Screening||Type of screening test||Frequency|
|Obesity||> 18 years old||Checking of Body Mass Index (BMI)||Once every year|
|High blood pressure||> 18 years old||Blood pressure||Once every 2 years|
|Diabetes||> 40 years old||Blood glucose test||Once every 3 years or more frequently as advised by your doctor|
|High blood cholesterol||> 40 years old||Cholesterol test||Once every 3 years or more frequently as advised by your doctor|
|Breast cancer (Females)||> 50 years old||Mammography||Once every 2 years|
|Cervical cancer (Females)||> 25 years old (who have ever had sexual intercourse)||Pap smear / HPV test||Pap smear: Once every 3 yearsHPV test: Once every 5 years|
|Colorectal Cancer||> 50 years old||Faecal Immunochemical Test||Once every year|
What are the major screening tests that should be included in an executive health screening package?
While it might seem like there’s a lot of tests to be done, they all go a long way in helping to detect illnesses early and allow treatment to be given promptly.
In general, your employees should have these 4 tests done as part of their executive health screening in Singapore.
1. Blood pressure test
A blood pressure test is one of the simplest and fastest methods to detect early symptoms of heart disease. High blood pressure often directly relates to heart disease.
Given that heart disease remains one of the leading causes of deaths in Singapore, it’s even more important to check for high blood pressure.
In addition, heart disease can be hereditary, which means that an individual’s family history increases their risk of developing a heart condition.
Other risk factors include diet, frequency of exercise, and stress levels. If your employees have at least one of these risk factors, it’s crucial for them to test for signs of heart disease.
If undetected early, having a high blood pressure can also lead to conditions such as stroke and kidney failure. And as seen in the past few months, having a high blood pressure can lead to complications when one is infected with COVID-19.
2. Cholesterol test
The cholesterol test is another test that helps to detect signs of heart disease.
Besides heart disease, having a high cholesterol level can lead to more severe health problems in the long run, such as stroke and heart attack.
Often, high cholesterol levels are caused by unhealthy diets and smoking habits. By detecting it early, it’s possible to introduce treatments and small alterations to the individual’s lifestyle, so that the risk of stroke and other cardiovascular problems can be reduced.
3. Blood glucose test
A high blood glucose level is a sign of diabetes.
Currently, 1 in 3 Singaporeans are at risk of developing diabetes, with the same number of people not knowing that they have it. In fact, this condition is so prevalent in Singapore, leading to the nation’s commitment to “wage war against diabetes” in 2016.
So, it’s essential to include blood glucose tests in the executive health screening of your employees, especially for those who are 40 years old and above. This is because the risk of getting diabetes increases from this age onwards.
Those with a family history of diabetes or are overweight are encouraged to go for blood glucose tests as well, as they’re at a higher risk of getting diabetes.
When detected early, diabetes can be controlled to reduce the risk of complications. These complications include kidney failure, blindness, and limb amputations.
4. Cancer screening
Cancer remains the number one leading cause of deaths among adults in Singapore — it accounts for almost 30% of deaths in 2018. Thus, cancer screening should also be included in your employees’ executive health screening to detect early signs of it.
Test for colon cancer
One type of cancer that employees of over 50 years old should be screened for is colon cancer. It’s the deadliest cancer amongst both men and women in Singapore.
2 test options are available: a faecal immunochemical test every year, or a colonoscopy every 10 years.
Test for cervical and breast cancers
In addition, your female employees should also be screened for cervical and breast cancers.
For employees aged 25 years and above, they should go for a pap smear screening every 3 years, or a HPV test every 5 years to check for cervical cancer.
And for those above 50 years old, they’d also need to test for breast cancer. This is done by going for mammograms every 2 years.
With early detection of these illnesses through executive health screening, the chances of recovery will be higher.
Ultimately, the health of anyone, including your employees, should never be taken for granted. While they can look healthy on the outside, it doesn’t mean that they’re free of any illnesses.
As most illnesses don’t show symptoms at the early stage, they can only be detected through health screenings.
Organising regular executive health screenings for your employees will not only improve their well-being, but also the productivity of your organisation. And as the old saying goes, prevention is better than cure.